What Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing have in Common

Lazy and unethical is what they have in common.


Quiet quitting is a term making its way around the internet. It refers to employees who stop being productive while drawing a paycheck for as long as possible.

Quiet firing is railroading an employee to quit so that you do not have to pay severance or undergo a 90-day performance review process.

Both practices are lazy and unethical

Look deeper, and you’ll probably find poor leadership at the root of both, too. According to Gallup, two-thirds of American employees reported being unengaged at work. That means they spend most of their time unproductive.

Some of the unproductivity is self-imposed. Most of it relates to unnecessary meetings, poorly thought-out requirements, miscommunication, etc. These are leadership problems.

You hired adults; what if you treated them like adults? Start with the ABCs

  1. Accountability. You need to meet 1-on-1 with each direct report weekly. People need to know that there are consequences for awesome, good, and awful. See this article on proactive accountability.
  2. Buy-in: You cannot demand it or order it on Amazon. You need to earn it. You know you have buy-in when people do what’s right the right way without you having to watch.
  3. Clarity about your common good: mission & vision, goals & values, standards & expectations. Every task you give should include “So That we get [x, y, z] outcomes.”

You’re right back on track with:

  • “Let’s meet for 15 minutes each Monday at 11 am so we can discuss priorities and make sure you are getting the support you need to succeed.”
  • “Joe, I like how you are letting your employees develop their own game plans for these tasks. How can I help you develop them even more?”
  • “I noticed that you’ve had a fifty percent turnover this year. Let’s discuss why that’s happening and what I can do to help you be successful. If this trend continues for the next 90 days, it’s time for you to find a better fit.”


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The Fallen Hero Honor Ride is only 15 days away. I’m excited for this 1700-mile bicycle ride to visit the graves of the six paratroopers from my unit who were killed in action in Afghanistan and raise funds for the Saber Six Foundation. Find out more here or at

I need your help. Our Honor Ride Team Champions program is a great way to get involved. You’ll raise support for a great cause, be eligible for awesome prizes (like an African safari), and get exclusive updates throughout the ride.

Are you ready to be a hero for our heroes? Contact me at to find out more.


Get more action steps about leadership and accountability in these recent podcast interviews:

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